The San Francisco slugger took a 2-1 fastball from San Diego's Clay Hensley leading off the second inning and drove the ball well over the wall in left- center field, off an advertising sign. The ball then landed in the bleachers below the main scoreboard. Bonds, making his ninth straight start, was congratulated by his teammates after crossing the plate.
The hit, his 21st homer of the year that traveled an estimated 382 feet, tied the game 1-1. Bonds' 17-year-old son, Nikolai, was waiting at home plate and hugged his father. Soon after teammates joined in the tempered celebration, and the game wasn't stopped. Bonds then went over to the field-level seats and kissed his daughter Aisha and his wife, Liz.
There was a mixed reaction from the crowd at Petco Park, and commissioner Bud Selig, who was in attendance, was shown without much emotion. That's because many fans believe Bonds' chase to the home run record has been tainted. Bonds is suspected of using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured himself almost four years ago when he told a previous grand jury he had not knowingly taken steroids.
Coming into the game, Bonds was 2-for-18 since hitting his 754th homer on July 27 against Florida. This was his 87th career homer against the Padres, his most against any team. However, it was just his fourth homer in 78 career at-bats at spacious Petco Park. The 43-year-old Bonds, a seven-time National League MVP, has homered off an ML-best 445 pitchers. He has 72 homers since his 40th birthday, equaling Carlton Fisk for the most all-time by a player after turning 40. It was last May 20 when Bonds tied Babe Ruth's record of 714 career homers for second place on the all-time list. Eight days later he took sole possession of second place by taking Colorado's Byung-Hyun Kim deep. It's been a long road for Bonds to tying the home run record. He started his career in 1986 with the Pittsburgh Pirates and that year led all rookies in homers.
His first MVP came in 1990 and Bonds became a Giant prior to the 1993 season. Bonds' most powerful season came in 2001 when he hit a major league- record 73 homers, but then came a book called "Game of Shadows" exposing Bonds' alleged tie to steroids. He's been a lightning rod for controversy off the field. Bonds has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs and is under investigation for possible perjury charges for lying under oath about steroid use relating from the BALCO scandal. He reportedly told a federal grand jury that he never knowingly used steroids. In January of this year, the New York Daily News reported that Bonds failed a test for amphetamines in 2006.